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The world waits whilst Tehran and Washington haggle about nuclear deal

The world waits whilst Tehran and Washington haggle about nuclear deal

After years of tension and months of negotiations, it appeared in August that the process of reviving the Iran nuclear, known as JCPOA, was coming to a successful close. The EU negotiators, who had been leading the difficult discussions, made what they said was the "final offer", and early indications from both Tehran and Washington appeared to be positive. In Brussels, officials were cautiously optimistic that a deal was in the bag. But the process dragged on and reports in some Middle East media sources appear to suggest that it has now grinded again back to a halt.  The US said Iran’s latest response was “not constructive”.  
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Opinion: Having multiple mediators is not hindering the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, yet

Opinion: Having multiple mediators is not hindering the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, yet

"The peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have not been negatively affected by current tensions between Russia and the west.   Although Moscow criticized the EU’s mediation initiatives, it has not challenged the implementation of the agreements between the sides, including those reached in the EU-mediated platform", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "Against this backdrop, the two tracks of peace talks (i.e., the EU-mediated and the Russia-mediated) find a favourable environment to run without contradicting each other. This raises hope that the recent positive developments between Baku and Yerevan will advance in the upcoming months", he says.
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Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to start working on the text of a peace treaty

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to start working on the text of a peace treaty

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, on Wednesday (31 August) hosted in Brussels the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and president Ilham Aliyev, for talks on the future of relations between the two countries and peace in the South Caucasus. Michel said that at the meeting it was agreed "to step up substantive work to advance on the peace treaty governing inter-state relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and tasked the Foreign Ministers to meet within one month to work on draft texts." President Michel underlined that "it is important to take the population along on both sides and prepare them for a long-term sustainable peace. Public messaging is critical in this regard – in a sensitive situation like this every word spoken in public is obviously listened to by the other side and weighed. The EU is ready to further step up its support towards a long-term sustainable peace. The EU will also continue to push for the advancement of economic development for the benefit of both countries and their populations." The three leaders agreed to meet again in this format by the end of November.
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The man who ended an era and triggered the collapse of an empire

The man who ended an era and triggered the collapse of an empire

The eighth and last leader of the former Soviet Union Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev has died. He was 91 years old. Gorbachev is considered a giant political figure who initiated the processes that ended the Cold War that had dominated international relations in the second half of the 20th century. His attempt to reform the Soviet Union met strong resistance, including a failed attempted coup by the KGB and the Army, and finally led to both his political demise, and the dissolution of the USSR into fifteen independent states. Born on 2nd March 1931 to a peasant family in the Stavropol region in the south of the Russian SSR, Mikhail Gorbachev was the architect of the policies of glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) that tried to reform the Soviet system from within. Many Russians, including the current leadership in the Kremlin blame Gorbachev for the Soviet Union's collapse and see him as a direct cause of Russia's problems in the 21st century, but Gorbachev was only trying to reverse the rot that had set-in at all levels of the Soviet state. He persisted with his reform programme despite the risks. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, and after leaving power spent his time as Head of the Gorbachev Foundation.
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Michel hosts Aliyev and Pashinyan in Brussels tomorrow

Michel hosts Aliyev and Pashinyan in Brussels tomorrow

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, will host the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels tomorrow Wednesday (30 August) as part of efforts to help the two countries achieve lasting peace. This will be the third time Charles Michel will be welcoming President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia in less than nine months. The meeting is scheduled to start at 13.00 Brussels time. Ahead of tomorrow's meeting, Michel on Tuesday (30 August) held separate telephone conversations with the two leaders. Sources told commonspace.eu that last minute details regarding the meeting tomorrow were discussed to ensure the success of the meeting. Michel also touched on issues related with the bilateral agenda between the EU and the two countries.
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France and Algeria open new chapter in relations

France and Algeria open new chapter in relations

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune Saturday declared a "new, irreversible dynamic of progress" in the relations between the two countries, at the end of a state visit by the French president to the former French colony. The three-day visit comes less than two months after Algeria marked six decades of independence following 132 years of French rule and a devastating eight-year war. It also comes as European powers scramble to replace Russian energy imports -- including with supplies from Algeria, Africa's top gas exporter, which in turn is seeking to expand its clout in North Africa and the Sahel. In their joint declaration on Saturday, the two leaders said "France and Algeria have decided to open a new era ... laying the foundation for a renewed partnership expressed through a concrete and constructive approach, focused on future projects and youth." Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune had on Thursday hailed "promising prospects for improving the special partnership" between the two countries. The baggage of history weighs heavily on Franco-Algerian relations. Speaking at a joint press conference with his Algerian counterpart on Thursday evening, Macron -- the first French president to be born since Algerian independence in 1962 -- said that "we didn't the choose the past, we inherited it".
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Russia blocks text at UN conference on nuclear disarmament

Russia blocks text at UN conference on nuclear disarmament

Russia on Friday prevented the adoption of a joint declaration following a four-week United Nations conference on nuclear disarmament and non proliferation, citing "political" aspects of the text. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which 191 signatories review every five years, aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, promote complete disarmament and promote cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  "Our delegation has one key objection on some paragraphs which are blatantly political in nature," said Russian representative Igor Vishnevetsky, adding that Russia was not the only country to take issue with the text.  According to sources close to the negotiations, Russia was opposed in particular to paragraphs concerning the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, which is occupied by the Russian military. The latest draft text had expressed "grave concern" over military activities around Ukrainian power plants, including Zaporizhzhia, as well as over Ukraine's loss of control of such sites and the negative impact on safety.